Tuesday 05 July 2022

Nearly half student internships are unpaid, many were used as ‘cheap labour’

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Some 44% of Dutch college and university students are not paid while doing an internship, particularly those working in education, according to research by student union ISO.

In total, over 4,900 students were questioned about their internships for the study.

Some 85% of students whose internship was in the educational sector were unpaid, as were 51% of care service students. And 27% of students found it hard to find an internship in the first place.

The lack of pay is a problem, particularly for students whose internships are full time, ISO chairwoman Lisanne de Roos said. ‘If you have to give up your job and you don’t get paid during your internship, then you do take a financial hit. And if you are actually working, then you should be rewarded for it.’

The ELBHO foundation, which monitors the quality of internships, has drawn up guidelines for pay. ‘On average, a company should pay around €300, depending on the type of education,’ advisor Thijs Otter told Trouw.

The survey also showed one in four students were used as ‘cheap labour’ during their internship and one in five said that they were given too much responsibility.

‘An internship should be challenging but you should not be saddled with a huge list of jobs and responsibilities,’ said De Roos.

The ISO want interns’ legal position to be improved through a formal agreement between student, college and employer.

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